January 27, 2023

Churchill Downs features Street Sense, Rags to Riches on ‘Stars of Tomorrow I’ opener

Fun and Feisty wins the Pocahontas Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

The 133rd fall meet at Churchill Downs begins Sunday with an 11-race “Stars of Tomorrow I” program devoted exclusively to two-year-olds. A pair of $200,000 stakes, the Street Sense (G3) and Rags to Riches for fillies, highlight the opening-day card.

The Street Sense and Rags to Riches are steppingstones to the $400,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) and $400,000 Golden Rod (G2) on the Nov. 26 “Stars of Tomorrow II” program. The 19-day fall meet will run Wednesday-Sunday through Nov. 27, the exception being Breeders’ Cup Friday and Breeders’ Cup Saturday on Nov. 4-5.

Jace’s Road, a close third in the Sept. 17 Iroquois (G3) at Churchill, tops 11 contestants in the 1 1/16-mile Street Sense. A romping maiden winner at Ellis Park, the $510,000 son of Quality Road showed good speed and never quit trying while making his second start last time. Florent Geroux retains the mount on the bay colt.

Honed, a rallying second at 54-1 in the Iroquois, will try to rebound from an unplaced effort in the Oct. 8 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland. By freshman sire Sharp Azteca, the Kenny McPeek-trained colt has rated well off the pace in all three outings. Julien Leparoux has the call.

Red Route One, a convincing maiden scorer on Kentucky Downs’ turf two back, merits respect for Steve Asmussen following a closing third in the Breeders’ Futurity. Ricardo Santana Jr. will guide the late-running chestnut son of Gun Runner. Grade 3 turf winner Boppy O, sixth in the Bourbon (G3) last out, will switch back to the main track for Mark Casse.

Ellis Juvenile S. winner Top Recruit, sixth most recently in the Champagne (G1), is another contender of interest. Canterbury stakes victor Two Phil’s, seventh in the Breeders’ Futurity, is also part of the mix, and Fliparino will jump straight to stakes competition following a convincing debut win at Churchill on Sept. 24.

In the 1 1/16-mile Rags to Riches, Fun and Feisty will look to make amends after an eighth in the Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland. The McPeek-trained filly should appreciate the return to Churchill, crushing maiden rivals and recording a 3 1/2-length decision in the Sept. 17 Pocahontas (G3) under the Twin Spires. Brian Hernandez pilots the off-the-pace runner.

Eight juvenile fillies are entered, including T Max, who will make her stakes debut following a pair of convincing wins over maiden special weight and entry-level allowance rivals at Ellis and Churchill. Regular rider Jack Gilligan will be up.

Peacock Lass figures to show speed after rolling to a four-length, wire-to-wire triumph over maidens at Churchill in mid-September. Tyler Gaffalione picks up the assignment. Grade 3 heroine Naughty Gal will attempt to bounce back for D. Wayne Lukas following a pair of unplaced efforts against graded foes. Hoosier Philly, a 1 3/4-length debut maiden win in late September, will make her first stakes attempt for Tom Amoss.